Vodka-Less Penne

I am not someone who drinks…for many reasons. Other than personal values, I am SO easily affected by medication. I take Sudafed and I become loopy. I take hydrocodone and I can’t remember my own name. I can’t remember my own name if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep consecutively on a regular basis. I just don’t possess the mental capacity to add anything to my body.

So when my younger brother came to me and asked if I’d take a look at his vodka-less penne recipe, I jumped in. Honestly, my first reaction to his request was ‘just buy the vodka and the alcohol cooks out’. Even though I practice temperance, I have cooked with beverages containing alcohol in the past and am not opposed to doing so in the future.

BUT…when my baby brother makes a request, I have a hard time turning him down. So, he sent me his recipe and explained he was attempting to make it in one pot and the problem he kept facing was the liquid/sauce to penne ration was never perfect. The ingredients and directions he sent were pretty perfect, to be honest. AND…I, of course, completely turned the recipe upside down.

Vodka-Less Penne

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 467 kcal


  • blender


  • 2 cups shallots chopped
  • 2 10.5 cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 12-16 oz low sodium chicken stock
  • cup fresh basil diced
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1 lb penne or other noodles of similar shape
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, drizzle with olive oil and begin sauteing shallots. Add in the garlic after a couple of minutes and saute for another minute.
  • Add in the fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, oregano, and white wine vinegar. Stir to warm through.
  • Once warmed, take an emuslion blender, or pour into a regular blender, and blend until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Add in all but 2 tbsp of the fresh basil and blend again.
  • Pour back into the pot if you used a regular blender, add in 12oz of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add in the pasta and allow to cook until pasta is al dente. You will need to check periodically to be sure the sauce remains thinned out. If the pasta begins sucking up too much liquid, add in more chicken stock as you go.
  • Once pasta is al dente, add in the mascarpone cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately. Top with fresh basil and moer parmesan cheese.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 467kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 317mgPotassium: 604mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 982IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta, red sauce, tomato sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

While this recipe doesn’t taste exactly like vodka penne, it is super tasty and a wonderful alternative if you prefer not to cook with alcoholic beverages. If you are not too keen on the white wine vinegar flavor, substitute it for cooking white wine which is found in the isle right next to white wine vinegar.

Hope y’all have an amazing day. Stay safe, be kind, and hug your loved ones.

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